No announcement yet.

T3, R1, Prng 106: Kaiser Max Class (Austria/Hungary) vs Vasco da Gama (Portugal)

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • T3, R1, Prng 106: Kaiser Max Class (Austria/Hungary) vs Vasco da Gama (Portugal)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    99: Kaiser Max (1875) Class

    The Kaiser Max class of ironclads was a group of three ships built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy in the 1870s: Kaiser Max, Don Juan d'Austria, and Prinz Eugen. They were ostensibly the same vessels as the earlier (1862) Kaiser Max class but were in fact virtually all-new vessels. Only parts of the earlier ships' machinery, armor plating, and other equipment were reused in the new ironclads. The ships were all laid down in 1874; the first two being launched in 1875 and completed in 1876, while work on Prinz Eugen proceeded much more slowly. She was launched in 1877 and completed in 1878.

    The Kaiser Max’s were casemate ships, concentrating the main battery in a centrally-located armored casemate, which allowed for limited end-on fire, though only forward, unlike earlier ironclads. Their main battery of eight 21cm (8.3in) guns - manufactured by Krupp - was mounted four to each broadside, with the forwardmost guns on each side in an angled gun port. They also carried four 9cm (3.5in) guns, two 7cm (2.8in), six 47mm (1.9 in) quick-firing guns, three 47mm (1.9 in) Hotchkiss revolver cannon and two 25mm (0.98 in) guns. They also carried four 35cm (14in) torpedo tubes; one in the bow, one in the stern and one on each broadside. Quite a formidable array!

    Protection consisted of an armored belt 203mm (8in) thick, enhanced with 115mm (4.5in) thick transverse bulkheads on either end of the citadel. Only the two strakes of the belt armor were newly manufactured; the rest of the iron used to protect the casemate deck coming from the earlier Kaiser Max class. The casemate battery itself was protected with 125mm (4.9in) plates. The new belt armor consisted of Bessemer steel.

    The propulsion system consisted of one horizontal, single-expansion, 2-cylinder steam engine that had been salvaged from the earlier Kaiser Maxes. The engine drove a single screw propeller that was 5.64 m (18.5 ft) in diameter. Steam was provided by five coal-fired boilers with thirty fireboxes, which were trunked into a single funnel. These engines enabled a top speed of 13.28 knots (24.59 km/h; 15.28 mph) from 2,755 indicated horsepower (2,054 kW). Each ship had a storage capacity of 380 long tons (390 t) of coal. The class was originally fitted with a barquentine rig, with an area of 1,633.15 sq m (17,579 sq ft) but in 1880 this was reduced to 1,156.6 sq m (12,450 sq ft).

    Formidable as they were, these ships had fairly uneventful careers; owing in part to the restricted naval budgets of the 1870s and 1880s, which precluded an active fleet policy. They made one major overseas cruise to Spain in 1888 to take part in the Barcelona Universal Exposition. They were eventually withdrawn from service in the early 1900s, being converted for secondary roles. Kaiser Max and Don Juan d'Austria became barracks ships and Prinz Eugen – renamed as Vulkan - became a repair ship. After World War I, Don Juan d'Austria sank under unclear circumstances while the other two ships were seized by Italy. Kaiser Max was transferred to the Royal Yugoslav Navy in the postwar peace negotiations and renamed Tivat. Italy refused to turn Vulkan over to Yugoslavia, however. The ultimate fate of both vessels is unclear.

    General characteristics
    Displacement – 3,548 long tons (3,605t)
    Length (overall) – 75.87m (248ft 11in)
    Beam – 15.25m (50ft)
    Draft – 6.15m (20ft 2in)
    Power – 1 x Steam engine, one screw
    Armament – 8 x 210mm (8.3in) guns
    Complement – 400 - 440 officers and men

    Kaiser Max between 1880-89


    Don Juan D'Austria in original configuration, late 1870's


    142: Vasco da Gama

    Vasco da Gama was an ironclad built in Britain for the Portuguese Navy. She was laid down in 1875, launched in 1876 and completed by 1878. As built, Vasco da Gama was armed with a main battery of two 10.2 in (260 mm) guns, placed in individual barbettes side by side amidships. She was also equipped with a single 5.9in (150mm) gun mounted on her stern and four 9pdr guns for close-range defense against torpedo boats. She was protected with a complete iron armored belt 4in (100mm) thick at the ends and 9in (230 mm) amidships. The main battery guns were protected by 10in (250mm) thick barbettes. She was fitted with a barquentine sailing rig and a steam engine rated at 3,000 indicated horsepower (2,200 kW), which produced a top speed of 10.3 kn (19.1 km/h; 11.9 mph).

    Vasco da Gama served as part of the coastal defense force that protected Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, and the mouth of the river Tagus. For a substantial portion of her long and peaceful career, she was the flagship of the Portuguese fleet. On 26 June 1897, she participated in the Fleet Review at Spithead, southern England, celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. At the time, the ship was commanded by Captain Barreto de Vascomellos.

    Vasco da Gama was rebuilt and heavily modernized between 1901 and 1903. She was cut in half and lengthened by a 32 ft 6 in (9.91 m) long section. She was fitted with new engines and more powerful water-tube boilers rated at 6,000 ihp (4,500 kW), increasing her speed to 15.5 kn (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph). Her sailing rig was removed. Her main battery guns were replaced with new 8 in (200mm) L/40 guns in sponsons. The short 5.9in gun was replaced by a new long-barreled 5.9in L/45 and six 3-pounders augmented her close-range defense. Her iron belt armor was removed and stronger steel armor was installed in its place. The crew increased to 260 officers and men. All these changes increased her displacement to 2,972 metric tons (2,925 long tons; 3,276 short tons). The work was completed by 1903.

    On 27 August 1907, a gas explosion aboard the ship injured several crewmen. During political unrest in April 1913, part of the crew had to be removed from the ship, as they had been involved in a planned ultra-Radical coup d'ιtat against the First Portuguese Republic. On 14 May 1915, the crew again participated in unrest. They mutinied, killed the ship's captain and bombarded Lisbon, killing around one hundred people.

    Notwithstanding any of the above, Vasco da Gama remained the flagship of the Portuguese Navy at least as late as 1914, as the Portuguese naval budget was insufficient to fund a suitable replacement vessel. Thoroughly obsolete, she remained in the Portuguese fleet until 1935, when she was sold for scrap.

    General characteristics
    Displacement (as built) – 2,384 metric tons (2,346 long tons; 2,628 short tons)
    Length (as built) – 200ft (61m) between perpendiculars
    Beam (at main battery) - 46ft 6in (14.17m)
    Draft – 19ft (5.8m) max
    Power – Steam engine rated at 3,000 hp (2,200Kw) (indicated) + sails
    Armament (as built) – 2 x 10.2in (260mm) in barbettes; 1 x 5.9in (150mm); 4 x 9pdr
    Complement – 232 officers and men (later, 260)

    Lovely museum model of Vasco da Gama


    Vasco da Gama in the early 20th century, after her rebuild


    It's up to you: Austro-Hungarian Kaiser Max class ...
    ... or Portuguese Vasco da Gama?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).

    Kaiser Max (1875) Class casemate ironclad
    Vasco da Gama armored corvette, barbette
    Last edited by panther3485; 04 Sep 19, 08:58.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    Tough call, but the outmoded design and the single screw - poor handling and no back-up is anything goes wrong - gives the edge to the Portuguese on this one.

    For the record, however, I hate casemated main guns.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


    • #3
      Length-of-Service, gives it to the Portuguese ship, I think,despite the wasteful sponson configuration.
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.


      • #4
        Agreed on both counts. Vasco da Gama it is.
        "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
        Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


        Latest Topics